PwC’s 2022 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey

18th October 2022

Posted In: Be In The Frame

Many Irish employees are busy eyeing up new job opportunities. Over half (56%) of Irish employees say that they are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months (Global: 53%). That is a key finding in Ireland in PwC’s 2022 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears survey of 52,195 employees in 44 countries including Ireland – one of the largest ever surveys of the global workforce.

Pay necessary but insufficient

Less than six out of ten (56%) Irish employees feel that they are fairly rewarded financially for their work (Global: 62%).

The survey reveals that almost two thirds (65%) of Irish employees plan to ask their employer for a raise in the next 12 months (Global: 73%).

With soaring energy costs and other inflationary pressures, it is not surprising that employees plan to ask for more money. Over half (57%) said that they are just about able to pay all of their bills every month with very little left over or are struggling to pay their bills (Global: 49%).

Globally, pressure on pay is highest in the tech sector where 44% of workers surveyed plan to ask for a raise and is lowest in the public sector (25%).

Nearly one fifth (17%) of Irish employees said that they are ‘extremely or very likely’ to leave the workforce permanently or temporarily in the year ahead – similar to global counterparts (17%).

Just a quarter of Irish employees (25%) reported to be ‘very satisfied’ with their job (Global:28%).

While an increase in pay is a main motivator for making a job change (Ireland:76% and Global:72%), wanting a fulfilling job (Ireland: 73%; Global: 69%) and wanting to truly be themselves at work (Ireland and Global: 67%) round out the top 3 very important things employees are looking for. 45% of Irish employees prioritised being able to choose where they work (Global: 47%).

Ger McDonough, Partner, PwC Ireland People and Organisation, commented: “There is a tremendous need for businesses to do more to improve the skills of workers, while being conscious of the risk of polarisation if opportunities to develop aren’t provided right across society.

At the same time, employees are not just looking for decent pay, they want more control over how they work and they want to derive greater meaning from what they do.

These are linked: by acquiring skills, employees can gain the control over the work they are looking for. Leaders have to adapt to build the teams needed to successfully deal with the challenges and opportunities of today and those yet to come.”

Mixed views but hybrid working is here to stay

Over half (52%) of Irish respondents said that their job could not be done remotely (Global: 45%). This needs to be borne in mind when developing hybrid work models, as these employees may be far less likely to find their jobs fulfilling, but often play a critical role.

According to the survey, 44% of Irish employees are currently working in a hybrid model (Global:55%). Employees have mixed views about whether their employer will provide work options they like in the year ahead. But hybrid working is here to stay. In the year ahead, 52% of Irish respondents would prefer some mix of in-person and remote work (Global: 65%). But they reported at the same time that more of their employers (64%) would expect them to work in this way (Global: 63%).

More to do on technology in the workplace

Like global counterparts, Irish employees have specific concerns when it comes to technology in the workplace. For example,

a sizable proportion (38%) said that their employer is not teaching them relevant technical or digital skills needed for their career (Global: 39%).

A similar proportion (38%) said that their employer is not investing in innovative technology. At the same time, nearly three out of ten (27%) are concerned about their role being replaced by technology in the next three years (Global: 30%).

Discussions about social issues are of benefit, despite a lack of support from employers

The survey found that 63% of Irish employees discuss social and political issues with work colleagues frequently or sometimes (Global: 65%), with the number higher for younger workers and ethnic minorities. While business leaders are sometimes nervous about people bringing these potentially polarising issues to work, the survey highlights that the impact is net positive. Key positive outcomes include understanding colleagues better, creating a more open and inclusive work environment and increased empathy.

These discussions are happening despite little active effort on the part of organisations to help secure positive outcomes, with Irish employers being less active than their global counterparts. For example,

only 24% of Irish employees say that their employer provides support to help them work effectively with people who share different views (Global: 30%). Just 26% are seen to be improving diversity and inclusion (Global: 30%).

 These are missed opportunities, given the importance of openness for building trust.

Employees are demanding that companies look beyond financial performance

The survey shows that employees have a particular interest in their employer’s impact on the environment and society with the majority feeling that these areas are very important. However, less are confident about their employer’s actions in these key areas. For example, less than half (42%) of Irish employees are very confident that their employer is transparent about their organisation’s impact on the environment and about addressing diversity and inclusion (45%); only 53% are very confident that their employer is transparent about protecting employee health and safety.

Only 18% of Irish employees said that their employer helps them minimise the environmental impact of their job. This is 5% less than the global average (23%) which is also low.

Laoise Mullane, Senior Manager, PwC Ireland People and Organisation, said: “Diverse workforces will inevitably bring differences of opinion about major societal issues into their workplaces. Leaders need to ensure that these discussions can benefit teams rather than dividing them.

The role of employers isn’t to tell workers what to think, but to give them a voice, choice and safe environment to share thoughts, listen and learn about how these issues are impacting their colleagues.

Our research indicates that employees, especially those that are younger or a member of an ethnic minority, feel the benefits of engaging in respectful and tolerant conversations.”

Skilled employees feel most empowered; there are increasing workplace inequalities

The survey paints a picture of a workforce polarised on a number of dimensions.

Globally, women were 7 points less likely than men to say they are fairly rewarded financially, but still 7 points less likely to ask for a raise.

Women were also 8 points less likely to ask for a promotion, and that request is more likely to fall on deaf ears

– as women are 8 points less likely than men to feel their manager listens to them.

Laoise Mullane added:

“It is bad for society and bad for business when there is a failure to ensure women have the same opportunities as men to develop their skills and careers.

One of the quickest ways to strengthen the workforce is to ensure women are not overlooked – which means addressing the culture, systems and structures that can lead to women losing out.”

There were also significant differences between generations. Globally, Gen Z workers were less satisfied with their job and twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be concerned that technology will replace their role in the next three years.

Employees with in-demand skills feel more empowered

One of the most important drivers of polarisation is skills – with large differences between employees who have highly valued skills and those who do not. In Ireland, over a third (37%) of survey respondents stated that Ireland lacks people with the skills needed to perform their job (Global: 46%). The data shows that globally those with in-demand skills are more likely to feel satisfied with their job (70% v 52%), feel listened to by their managers (63% v 38%) and have money left over after they pay their bills (56% v 44%).

Global companies doing more to address skills shortages than Irish employers

Irish companies are doing less than their global counterparts to address shortages in skills. Less than four out of ten (37%) employees say that their employer is investing in upskilling (Global: 40%). 28% said that they are increasing wages (Global: 33%).

Given the mental health crisis, it is disappointing that only 21% of employees cited support for physical and mental well-being (Global: 29%).

Few employers are also focused on automating work (Ireland:16%; Global:26%), outsourcing (Ireland: 16%; Global: 20%) and recruiting more diverse employees (Ireland:18%; Global:25%) as a means to address skills shortages. 29% are hiring qualified people from overseas (Global: 20%).

Younger people likely to be less satisfied with their job

The survey data reveals how younger employees differ from the overall respondent base. Many of these employees joined the workforce during the pandemic, with fewer in-person interactions with colleagues with their perspective being shaped by this experience. Irish employees between ages 18 and 24 are:

•More concerned about being overlooked for work opportunities

•More concerned about the impact of technology on their jobs

•Less satisfied with their job

•More likely to ask for a raise or promotion

•More likely to change some aspect of their working life, such as working hours

Ger McDonough concluded: “In a tight labour market, it is even more important that organisations take a human-led, tech powered approach. That means investing in both digital transformation and in skills.

Investment should be guided by a principle of equity, with a focus on strengthening the capabilities of skilled employees, providing access routes for those who lack skills and investing in automation that frees up people to do what only people can do.

It is as much about apprenticeships as graduate recruitment, and requires a commitment to constant upskilling. Targeted investment across the skills mix is good for companies, good for individuals and good for society.”

You can read the full report here>>